See the latest developments in the future of food from Big Idea Ventures and our global portfolio.

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Big Idea Ventures (BIV) is solving the World’s Biggest Challenges by supporting the World’s Best Entrepreneurs. It is a venture capital fund with startup accelerators in key locations, investing in and accelerating top performers in the new food space.

The first fund of BIV, The New Protein Fund I (size U$50M), is investing in the most innovative companies working on plant-based & cell-based meat, seafood and dairy products, as well as ingredients and technologies that facilitate the growth of these categories. BIV combines capital, mentorship and a strong ecosystem of partners to support and grow the world’s most compelling plant-based and cell-based alternative protein companies.

Feb 5, 2021 02:00 PM in Singapore

NC State is the first of a planned five academic partners to benefit from on-campus commercialisation experts and access to capital.

Big Idea Ventures, a US-based venture capital fund focused on food and agricultural technologies, has launched the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFPR) fund and partnered North Carolina (NC) State University. GFPR has a $125m target. NC State University the first of at least five academic collaborators, which will all benefit from an on-campus venture centre…

With 2.5 million Australian consumers currently identifying as plant-based eaters, Australian plant-based food company, Fenn Foods, believes making the switch to vegetarianism or flexitarianism is really just the tip of the iceberg.

The Sunshine Coast business headed by Michelin Star chef, Alejandro Cancino and his wife Paola, have taken the commitment to planet and environment a step further, launching what they believe to be the world’s first carbon neutral ‘meat’.

The couple says most consumers don’t realise the amount of fossil fuel used in plant-based food production – a real problem for the industry.

Veef mince is 100-per-cent carbon offset, from production to transportation.

“Including more plants in your diet is key to combatting climate change. A lot of people don’t know meat and dairy production produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all global transportation combined,” says Alejandro, Fenn Foods co-founder and Veef creator.

He said the certification process took six months with carbon reduction institute, Noco2, which thoroughly check the whole process from where ingredients are sourced, to production and up to consumer delivery.

The futuristic plant-based product has been snapped up by popular, meal-kit company HelloFresh with Veef mince set to appear in kits from this month.

Singapore food tech Karana is launching its first product, a whole food plant-based pork alternative made from young jackfruit, across six restaurants in Singapore. Unlike many plant-based meat brands on the market, the startup uses natural whole food ingredients and blends them with novel food technologies to enhance “meat-like” textures, making it stand out as one of the most minimally-processed vegan analogues available.

Announced on Thursday (January 28), Karana is launching its sustainable plant-based pork analogue made from young jackfruit, marking Asia’s first brand of its kind that is made from whole food plant ingredients. Six leading restaurants in Singapore will debut the product in a range of creative dishes, from potstickers to colourful bowls, in what the startup describes as its “first phase” in its foodservice roll-out. Participating restaurants include Candlenut, Butcher Boy, Open Farm Community, Morsels, Atout and Grain Traders.

Unlike other well-known vegan meat brands on the market, whose labels usually contain a long lists of ingredients and preservatives, Karana uses its innovative technology to minimally process, optimise and enhance its responsibly sourced young jackfruit, a fruit native to and abundant in Asia, into a natural meat-like ingredient that’s easy to cook and prepare.

We chose to launch in Singapore as it has such a high concentration of talented chefs and it’s a global leader in food tech innovation.

Blair Crinchton, Co-Founder, Karana

Karana roll at Open Farm Community

The news comes after the food tech closed its US$1.7 million seed round in the summer of last year, which drew participation from notable players like Temasek, Tyson Foods and the CEO of Monde Nissin Corp Henry Soesanto.

“We chose to launch in Singapore as it has such a high concentration of talented chefs and it’s a global leader in food tech innovation,” said Karana co-founder Blair Crinchton, who grew up in Hong Kong. “We wanted to bring to market a plant-based ingredient that cooked and presented as a meat, taking jackfruit to the next level for restaurants.”

The launch is likely to be welcome news for Singapore residents, many of whom have been turning to plant-based alternatives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has set off alarm bells over the safety and vulnerability of the meat supply chain.

Michelin-starred restaurant Candlenut, known for its award-winning Peranakan cuisine, will be on the list for many of the island’s foodies, herbivores, flexitarians and omnivores alike. The restaurant is slated to serve up Karana’s jackfruit meat in a ngoh hiang dish.

We’re looking forward to introducing our new Karana dish to diners, to offer them all the texture and flavour, without any processing.

Malcolm Lee, Chef-Owner, Candlenut

Karana Ngoh Hiang at Candlenut

“At Candlenut we believe in using the best possible ingredients and keeping things simple, which is why we’re thrilled to be a launch partner for Asia’s first whole-plant meat substitute,” said Malcolm Lee, chief and owner of Candlenut. “We’re looking forward to introducing our new Karana dish to diners, to offer them all the texture and flavour, without any processing.”

Karana co-founder Dan Riegler, who spent years working with agricultural supply chains across Southeast Asia, says that on top of its minimally-processed clean plant-based whole food qualities, its “pork” product stands out because of its sustainability credentials.

60% of jackfruit is currently being wasted, a contributor to global warming, so with Karana we’ll be reducing that wastage, while working with farmers to support the local economy.

Dan Riegler, Co-Founder, Karana

“Sustainability has never been more important, especially when it comes to food, and our first base ingredient was carefully chosen with this in mind. Jackfruit is an extremely efficient crop with high yields and low water usage making it friendly to smallholder farmers,” explains Riegler, who adds that currently, the brand sources from Sri Lanka.

Karana Tantrum Bowl at Grain Traders

“It is typically grown intercropped, promoting biodiversity. 60% of jackfruit is currently being wasted, a contributor to global warming, so with Karana we’ll be reducing that wastage, while working with farmers to support the local economy.”

While the startup has yet to disclose further details on whether its jackfruit pork will launch elsewhere in the near future, there’s little doubt that the demand is there in Singapore and across the region and businesses are quickly gearing up to tap into the fast-growing market.

Singapore recently welcomed its first Green Common branch, the plant-based café and grocery concept operated by Hong Kong-based Green Monday, as well as other foreign brands like vegan milk giant Oatly entering the market and Impossible Foods doubling down its presence. The city’s frozen foods giant TYJ has also made its foray into plant-based with its new brand ALTN to offer a wide range of frozen meatless meals, snacks and convenience foods.


All images courtesy of Karana. 

Big Idea Ventures LLC has announced the launch of the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP), a $125 million target fund that will fuel economic development in rural communities across the United States through the commercialization of food and agricultural technologies, protein innovation and other university intellectual property.

“Big Idea Ventures was founded to solve the world’s greatest challenges by backing the world’s best entrepreneurs,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and managing general partner. “This new fund will widen our scope to capture breakthrough technologies from world-class universities that will impact the global food supply chain. The goal is to drive job creation and entrepreneurship in rural communities hungry for economic development and have them continue to be the centres of food innovation and production for generations to come.”

The GFRP fund will establish at least five venture centres to facilitate collaboration with multiple leading U.S. universities. BIV venture center staff will work with the universities to identify and evaluate new developments with the strongest commercialization potential and the fund will then invest in new companies formed around the groundbreaking research. These new companies will be headquartered in rural communities near the collaborating universities and the GFRP team expects the first of these new companies to be established in North Carolina.

“We are thrilled that Big Idea Ventures has recognized NC State’s world-class agricultural research capabilities, and this opportunity aligns perfectly with our mission to create prosperity for our state and reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of this university. With our Think and Do mindset, we believe research has its greatest value when it’s at work in the real world creating opportunities and solving problems. We’re delighted to be working with this team from the very beginning,” said Wade Fulghum, assistant vice chancellor for research commercialization.

Recognizing that breakthrough technologies that could transform the global food supply chain often originate in academia, Big Idea Ventures has launched a $125m fund to commercialize IP from some of the nation’s leading universities and fuel economic development in rural communities across the country.

North Carolina State University’s strengths in food and agricultural innovation are center stage in a new venture aimed at fueling economic growth in rural areas.

Big Idea Ventures LLC, the global leader in early-stage alternative protein investing, today announced the launch of the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP) fund and the selection of the university as its inaugural collaborator.

GFRP is a $125 million target fund that will fuel economic development in rural communities across the United States through the commercialization of food and agricultural technologies, protein innovation and other university intellectual property.

“Big Idea Ventures was founded to solve the world’s greatest challenges by backing the world’s best entrepreneurs,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and managing general partner. “This new fund will widen our scope to capture breakthrough technologies from world-class universities that will impact the global food supply chain. The goal is to drive job creation and entrepreneurship in rural communities hungry for economic development and have them continue to be the centers of food innovation and production for generations to come.”

5+ Venture Centers to Be Established

The GFRP fund will establish at least five venture centers to facilitate collaboration with multiple leading U.S. universities. BIV venture center staff will work with the universities to identify and evaluate new developments with the strongest commercialization potential and the fund will then invest in new companies formed around the groundbreaking research. These new companies will be headquartered in rural communities near the collaborating universities and the GFRP team expects the first of these new companies to be established in North Carolina.

“We are excited to launch Generation Food Rural Partners with NC State as our first university collaborator,” said Tom Mastrobuoni, chief investment officer for Big Idea Ventures. “We chose NC State because of its forward-looking investments in plant science and plant-based food innovation and its historical excellence in plant breeding and agricultural research.

“We want to help universities like NC State benefit from the formation of these new businesses while demonstrating the commercial value of university research,” Mastrobuoni continued. “We believe GFRP will drive more scientists to pursue additional research and encourage other entrepreneurs to establish their companies near our venture centers in rural America.”

Project Taps NC State’s Research Expertise and Entrepreneurial Spirit

NC State is a top-ranked land-grant university globally recognized as a research powerhouse. Researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alone were awarded $96.5 million in grants last year and exceeded $130 million in research expenditures in more than 600 active research programs in on-campus labs, field labs, farm fields, and in the state’s network of 18 research stations.

“We are thrilled that Big Idea Ventures has recognized NC State’s world-class agricultural research capabilities, and this opportunity aligns perfectly with our mission to create prosperity for our state and reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of this university. With our Think and Do mindset, we believe research has its greatest value when it’s at work in the real world creating opportunities and solving problems. We’re delighted to be working with this team from the very beginning,” said Wade Fulghum, assistant vice chancellor for research commercialization.

“North Carolina has the third most diverse agricultural economy and the most entrepreneurial farmers and agribusinesses in the nation,” said Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “With their investment in NC State research and programs such as the N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative and the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab, we believe we have a complete innovation ecosystem to attract and support the best researchers and food entrepreneurs in the world.”

Legislators Say Venture Support Is Critical for Rural Development

Only 20% of the state’s agricultural GDP comes from food manufacturing. Expanding the state’s food manufacturing capabilities in rural communities is a key area of focus for the North Carolina General Assembly.

Here’s what three state legislators had to say:

  • “Venture support is critical to the further development of rural businesses and infrastructure. … Bringing food manufacturing companies directly to the source of the agricultural products they need will be a game-changer for our farmers, our rural communities, and the entrepreneurs who take advantage of this opportunity.” – Sen. Brent Jackson
  • “This cutting-edge venture reflects the potential for innovation to help bridge the urban, rural economic divide.” – Sen. Paul Newton
  • “This exciting opportunity is a recognition of the incredible natural and human resources we enjoy in our state, and I’m proud to support ongoing entrepreneurial collaborations that benefit our citizens.” — Rep. Kristin Baker

NEW YORK, Jan. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Big Idea Ventures LLC, the global leader in early-stage alternative protein investing, announces the launch of the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP) fund, and has selected NC State University as its inaugural collaborator. GFRP is a $125 million target fund that will fuel economic development in rural communities across the United States through the commercialization of food and agricultural technologies, protein innovation and other university intellectual property.

“Big Idea Ventures was founded to solve the world’s greatest challenges by backing the world’s best entrepreneurs,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and managing general partner. “This new fund will widen our scope to capture breakthrough technologies from world-class universities that will impact the global food supply chain. The goal is to drive job creation and entrepreneurship in rural communities hungry for economic development and have them continue to be the centers of food innovation and production for generations to come.”

The GFRP fund will establish at least five venture centers to facilitate collaboration with multiple leading U.S. universities. BIV venture center staff will work with the universities to identify and evaluate new developments with the strongest commercialization potential and the fund will then invest in new companies formed around the groundbreaking research. These new companies will be headquartered in rural communities near the collaborating universities and the GFRP team expects the first of these new companies to be established in North Carolina.

“We are excited to launch Generation Food Rural Partners with NC State as our first university collaborator,” said Tom Mastrobuoni, chief investment officer for Big Idea Ventures. “We chose NC State because of its forward-looking investments in plant science and plant-based food innovation and its historical excellence in plant breeding and agricultural research. We want to help universities like NC State benefit from the formation of these new businesses while demonstrating the commercial value of university research. We believe GFRP will drive more scientists to pursue additional research and encourage other entrepreneurs to establish their companies near our venture centers in rural America.”

NC State is a top-ranked land-grant university globally recognized as a research powerhouse. Researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alone were awarded $96.5 million in grants last year and exceeded $130 million in research expenditures in more than 600 active research programs in on-campus labs, field labs, farm fields, and in the state’s network of 18 research stations.

“We are thrilled that Big Idea Ventures has recognized NC State’s world-class agricultural research capabilities, and this opportunity aligns perfectly with our mission to create prosperity for our state and reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of this university. With our Think and Do mindset, we believe research has its greatest value when it’s at work in the real world creating opportunities and solving problems. We’re delighted to be working with this team from the very beginning,” said Wade Fulghum, assistant vice chancellor for research commercialization.

“North Carolina has the third most diverse agricultural economy and the most entrepreneurial farmers and agribusinesses in the nation,” said Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “With their investment in NC State research and programs such as the N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative and the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab, we believe we have a complete innovation ecosystem to attract and support the best researchers and food entrepreneurs in the world.”

“Venture support is critical to the further development of rural businesses and infrastructure,” said Sen. Brent Jackson, N.C. Senate. “Bringing food manufacturing companies directly to the source of the agricultural products they need will be a game-changer for our farmers, our rural communities, and the entrepreneurs who take advantage of this opportunity.” Only 20 percent of the state’s agricultural GDP comes from food manufacturing. Expanding the state’s food manufacturing capabilities in rural communities is a key area of focus for the North Carolina General Assembly.

“This cutting-edge venture reflects the potential for innovation to help bridge the urban, rural economic divide,” said Sen. Paul Newton, N.C. Senate.

“This exciting opportunity is a recognition of the incredible natural and human resources we enjoy in our state, and I’m proud to support ongoing entrepreneurial collaborations that benefit our citizens,” said Rep. Kristin Baker, N.C. House.

About Big Idea Ventures 
Founded in 2018, Big Idea Ventures is solving the world’s greatest challenges by supporting the world’s best entrepreneurs. We’re a venture capital fund investing in and partnering with the most innovative companies and founding teams to bring big ideas to the world. For more information visit www.bigideaventures.com.

Media Contacts

Big Idea Ventures | Worth Sparkman, worth@bigideaventures.com, 479-236-0674

NC State University | Richard Campbell, rtcampbe@ncsu.edu, 919-513-3128

Meet Hailey Swartz

Company:
Actual Veggies

Actual Veggies makes burgers with fresh veggies that are large, filling, and colorful. Because natural is beautiful.

Startup Stage:
Seed

Locations:
New York, NY, USA

 

What led you to where you are today?

I’ve worked for large corporations for 12 years. Most recently, I was at Alibaba helping small businesses take their concept from idea to market. I was inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of these entrepreneurs in bringing something new to the world and wanted to do the same myself. At the same time, I’m passionate about food and keeping a healthy lifestyle. When my co-founder Jason brought the idea of Actual Veggies to me, I was immediately enthralled with the vision and mission and jumped on board. We are so excited to give consumers a delicious, healthy, and sustainable food choice.

 

What do you wish you knew before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?

Honestly, I wish I knew how much fun it would be. I am enjoying every single second of this journey and every day my confidence and enthusiasm grows. We are all so capable.

What can you help the VEGPRENEUR community with?

With a background in product management, I know how to prioritize and execute quickly and effectively. I am happy to share ideas for moving things forward- and when to say “good enough is better than perfect.” You can always iterate.

How can the VEGPRENEUR community help you?

I am excited to meet other founders and learn from each other/ share ideas.

Fun fact about you:

The first batch of samples that we sent to our current investors (at the time prospective investors) arrived looking like soup. We still got the investment!

Lorem ipsum | Vietnam | cesiscompany.vn

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